MSF Letter to Staffordshire Police

Chief Constable Chris Noble

Police and Crime Commissioner, Staffordshire Police,
Independent Office for Police Conduct

Dear Sir

As an organisation representing all the major Middlesbrough F.C fans groups, we would like to ask for your comments on the totally unacceptable treatment travelling fans were subjected to at the recent Stoke v Middlesbrough match (11/12/21). Innocent fans, including families and older people were caught up in the extremely heavy-handed policing outside the stadium, including pepper spraying. Many fans missed trains due to being held back after the final whistle without explanation.

Please could you address the following:

1. Why was there a major police presence and operation at the match?

2. Why were the reasons for supporters being held back not communicated properly?

3. Why did it appear that pepper spray was used in a manner that meant innocent fans were affected?

4. Can you guarantee Middlesbrough fans they can travel to Stoke City again without fearing the police operation?

5. Will you apologise to innocent supporters caught up in what was a horrible experience for them?

6. To whom should individual supporters complain about their experiences?

We understand that the police have a job to do but believe this is keeping the public safe, not putting them in situations that are at best uncomfortable and at worst intimidating.

We look forward to your urgent response.

Yours faithfully

Mark Motley
Middlesbrough Supporters Forum